11 November 2011
Polar opposites and unbearable truths
In Canada, a political battle is on for hearts, minds and a nation's new emblem, and the faction favoring the longstanding beaver is under siege from the faction favoring the formidable polar bear.
As our beloved blogger colleague, the aptly named Lone Grey Squirrel, has suggested: forget the beaver, forget the polar bear. What about the squirrel? As a Canadian with a strong interest in the outcome of this sparring of national symbols, Mr. Squirrel indeed raises an important nut worth cracking. (You can even vote on the critter of your choice, by the way, by clicking on the link to his blog, provided here.)
One Canadian politician recently lauded the polar bear as worthy because of its "strength, courage, resourcefulness and dignity," and trounced beavers as "dentally defective rats." Putting aside such blatant animal defamation (and idle fantasies of casting the senator out into Canada's woods in the heart of winter), let us step away from this hairy debate and instead consider the simple merits of the squirrel.
In an environment of global economic crisis, the squirrel is resourceful to the point of hoarding. The squirrel's motto: "Cache as cache can" could become the lyrics of a new global anthem in this money-strapped world of ours.
At a time when charitable giving and worldwide cooperation is stressed for our communal survival, who is better equipped to go out on a limb for us all than the squirrel?
And finally, in an era full of negative thinking, the squirrel remains ever bright-eyed and ... well, you know.
We are not here to defame his distant cousin, the beaver. (Nor are we here to "dam" him.) Likewise, we will not engage in polemics over his polar challenger.
The squirrel is the simple answer for a new national symbol in Canada. Just lift another national symbol - the Maple Leaf - and look beneath.
There, neatly nested in the intertwined foliage, you shall find him. Loyal patriot, he's simply waiting for the call to duty.